Smeatharpe Stadium - Saturday 25th July 2020

The Autospeed ‘What a Weekend’ event began three days of racing with a Saturday night ‘domestic with a difference’ at Smeatharpe Stadium featuring the first ever Westcountry visit of the Modstox, a healthy entry of Autospeed Bangers and the infant racers in the Micro F2 Stock Cars who race for fun rather than results and points.


The first ever competitive visit of the Reliant-powered open-wheeled Modstox produced an entry of 10 cars after one of the formula transporters expired on the trip down the M5.  Their opening heat followed a short but intense thunder shower which left the track with standing water in many places.  Ministox graduate 20 Charlie Bull was pushing on terribly in the corners and an early home straight tangle saw 63 Dave Kilby and 103 Katie Billington in the wall for a red flag and complete re-run.  111 Dan Billington held a clear lead, but silver top 294 Jon Clare reeled him in and took over five laps from home and survived a last bend lunge from 394 Chris Clare to claim the first victory at the track.  Heat two was starting to dry out and suited yellow-top 63 Dave Kilby who grabbed a large lead in the early laps and went on to win by a large margin.  Behind him, a decent 5-way scrap over second place was going on mid-race.  The Final was excellent with Kilby getting away again at the start and being a quarter of a lap clear at half-distance.  This was slowly whittled down by 377 Dave Brawn who was himself being hunted down by Jon Clare.  With three laps to go, all three were in close contention and the pressure seemed to get to Kilby who had the tail of the car step out in turn four handing the lead to Brawn.  Brawn had to go into the last corner fast to avoid a hit from Clare which put him very wide, but he just held on to take the chequered in the dash to the line, with Clare and Kilby behind him.  Two cars had to be pushed off the grid for the Allcomers leaving eight to contest the race.  Bull had his best run in this race despite nearly hitting the pit gate in the opening lap when Kilby gave him a hit into the corner and Bull hit the brake.  343 Paul Heath, Dan Billington and 394 Clare were all exchanging hits around the half way mark with Billington still battling with Heath over third position as the three lap board was shown.  Jon Clare took another victory with Billington and Heath so preoccupied with each other that Brawn sneaked through on the last lap to take third from them.  A fine performance from the lap handicap.


The Bangers produced an entry of 61 cars running in a full format meeting.  The half car heats did not quite live up to the title with just 25 drivers competing in the first; the holiday traffic having delayed many drivers, who were then late to pass through scrutineering and safety checks.  61 Daryll Theedom started from the back and was immediately creating mischief by taking out 836 Adam Oldham.  27 Shaine Barton spent a period leading the race but was passed by 196 Craig Cornelius by the time the lap boards started to be shown.  Cornelius was held up by traffic in the form of 768 Tyler Cock which allowed 75 Paul Fisher to close in and after a couple of taps on the back bumper, Cornelius conceded the place with just over a lap to run and Fisher went on to win in the only Rover 416 amongst the entry.  Heat two fielded 32 cars and saw 288 Billy Collins shed a wheel in the early stages which thankfully rolled to a safe place.  Despite the number of cars, this was the quieter of the heats and was won from flag to flag by 161 Anton Ferris.  There were 33 cars in the consolation which was very lively indeed.  114 Luke Niles pulled a drive shaft out before reaching the green flag and other early delays came for 121 Ryan Buddle who came to a stop in the pits turn and had 622 Jason Spry scattered into him by 149 Dan Curtis.  In all, seven drivers joined the growing blockage in quick succession, six of them being red tops.  It continued to be a tough race for Buddle as he got going again only to run into the back of 719 Aaron Warren when 800 Jono Hardacre in a 3-series BMW was leant into the home straight wall and broke the steering just ahead of them.  The last misery for Buddle came when 223 Sonny Collins ploughed into him although Collins ended up being the cause of a stoppage after 33 Nathan Boswarthick ran into him and a small fire was suspected.  Billy Collins kept his wheels on to win the 3-lap restart.  All 30 qualifiers contested the Final where 74 Adam Hitchcock spent the opening moments hitting and trying to unsettle 929 Sam Baker although it appeared that he only managed to unsettle something mechanical on his own car as retirement came shortly afterwards.  Things got tricky in the later part of the race with the home straight partially blocked after 455 Shane Kennard was turned around in his Ford Puma and was collected by 284 Leon Benjafield.  Cornelius squashed 284 Noddy and Billy Collins also piled in.  75 Paul Fisher negotiated the hazards to complete a heat and Final double ahead of 27 Barton and 916 Luke Thomas.  The Allcomers was the busiest of the day with 35 cars on track.  29 Jasmine McArdle had been struggling with a lacklustre Ford Focus all day and took some hard assists in this race from 433 Zac Brown and 862 Darryl Cock at the other end of the track.  The other notable crash was for 33 Boswarthick who took a shoulder barge in turn four that sent him into wall hard at the start of the home straight.  23 Barry Staples took the win to end a decent session from the formula.

Modstox 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 294 111` 394 53 343 377 10 nof
Heat 2 63 394 294 53 377 10 111 343 103 20
Final 377 294 63 53 343 394 111 20 103 nof
Allcomers 294 63 377 111 343 20 nof
Bangers 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 75 196 23 328 927 991 775 898 687 6
Heat 2 161 60 916 34 281 718 18 929 455 182
Cons 288 27 246 355 74 621 320 775 284 956
Final 75 27 916 991 246 23 775 898 18 718
Allcomers 23 768 34 196 842 75 114 775 916 898
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